Davendra Banhart | Oh Me Oh My | Review

The London Observer | Kitty Empire

he's a rare find

Few records are truly unsettling. Oh Me Oh My The Way The Day Goes By The Sun Is Setting Dogs Are Dreaming Lovesongs Of The Christmas Spirit ­ to give Banhart's album its full title ­ is one of this rare fellowship. The bearded and wild-eyed Vincent Gallo attempted recently to make an album as strange as this one and failed. Oh Me Oh My is less an album, more a poisoned stream of semi conscious primitive folk that divides roughly into 22 songs. 'Nice People' , particularly, clocks in at a lengthy 3 minutes, and its creep falsetto chorus 'They certainly are nice people,' becomes more disturbing with every repetition. For all their considerable eccentricity, however, Banhart's plucked melodies are as compelling as they are unusual. Banhart is a nomadic soul who lives in a New York squat and worships the likes of Vashti Bunyan, Karen Dalton, and Mississippi John Hurt. His more modern peers are Will Oldham and Cat Power and, like them, he's not for everyone. But he's a rare find.